The Strength of the Social Worker

Have you ever noticed how winning teams combine the distinct strengths of individual players to achieve greatness? With that same team mindset, hospice and palliative care professionals enable a higher quality of life for people with serious illnesses.

At Delaware Hospice, our teams include a nurse, a social worker, a chaplain, and volunteers and CNAs at the ready. Each team member brings their own unique perspective to help patients meet their goals.

In celebration of National Professional Social Work Month, we’d like to take a closer look at the incredible strengths social workers bring to our team:

  1. Clarify the Patient’s Goals and Expectations.  Every visit, the social worker asks the patient and family, “What’s most important for you?” Those hopes and wishes become our team’s priorities. If needs surpass the team’s role, such as the need for around-the-clock-care, the social worker helps coordinate outside support.
  1. Protect the Patient’s Dignity and Right to Self-Determination.  The social worker helps navigate the patient’s own idea of what good end-of-life or palliative care is. The social worker helps ensure that the patient makes the decisions about their best path forward.

The social worker also helps the family create a safe, comfortable place in the patient’s home and will discuss ways the family can advocate for the patient – including things like limits for visitors.

  1. Connect Families with Resources.  Did you know that someone on oxygen should register with the electric company to minimize service outages? Do you know how to apply for a nursing home slot while Medicaid Long-Term Care coverage is still pending? Our social workers do. They’re walking encyclopedias of the resources available to patients and their families.

Our social workers can help you find a support group – and work to arrange a volunteer to stay with your loved one! The social worker can loop in our New Hope children’s grief counselors. The social worker is the one who can help arrange a temporary in-patient hospice stay if the family needs support with caregiving duties.

  1. Educate Patients About End-of-Life Care Options.  It’s hard to make decisions about life-saving and life-sustaining measures when you don’t know what they entail. The social worker explains procedures like CPR, feeding tubes, and ventilators so patients can make informed decisions. The social worker can also help create advanced healthcare directives and legal power of attorney documents.
  1. Become the Family’s Number One Cheerleader.  The social worker is there to give the confidence, knowledge and support a family needs to care for their loved one. They do the research on national and local resources available. And for hospice families, they provide education about the dying process and what to expect so families can feel empowered through the journey.


To learn more about how our social workers can support your family, give Delaware Hospice a call at 302-478-5707.

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